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This Month In Black History: Important Things That Happened In August That You Never Learned

This Month In Black History: Important Things That Happened In August That You Never Learned

Happy Black Business month!

August marks so many occasions. It’s Black business month, back-to-school time and of course, the end of summer in the U.S. However, the month is also an important one in Black history, marking the anniversary of the birth of hip-hop, Dr. Martin Luther King’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech, the birth of icons Marcus Garvey, James Baldwin, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston, and the founding of some of our most prestigious HBCUs. Be sure to spread the knowledge and ensure that Black history is preserved forever. For this month in Black history, here are some important things that happened in August that you may have never learned, courtesy of

August 23, 1755 - Jean Baptiste Lislet-Geoffroy, distinguished French geographer, was born.

August 5, 1763 - Bill Richmond, a.k.a. “The Black Terror”, the first black boxer to gain international recognition, was born.

August 23, 1786 - Jean-Baptiste Lislet-Geoffrey becomes the first Black correspondent of the French Academy of Sciences

August 23, 1826 - John Brown Russwurm becomes the first Black in America to graduate college.

August 10, 1854 - James Conway Farley, the first African American to achieve prominence in the photography industry, was born

August 8, 1866 - Matthew Henson, explorer and first to reach the North Pole, was born.

August 22, 1876 - The first Black college founded in Tennessee was Fisk University



August 14, 1976 - Prairie View State University, one of the top universities for generating African-American architects and engineers, was founded

August 13, 1881 - The first African American nursing school opens at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga.

August 1, 1887 - Joseph Hayne Rainey, the first Black person to serve in the United States House of Representatives and the second Black person to serve in the United States Congress, passes away

August 17, 1887 - Marcus Garvey, the father of the Black national and Pan-African movements, was born.



August 2, 1891 - George Washington Williams, the first person to write an objective and scientifically researched history of Black people in the United States, passes away.

August 3, 1897 - Lloyd Ray patented his invention, the dustpan.

August 26, 1900 - Hale Woodruff, founder of the influential Atlanta University shows for African American artists, was born

August 4, 1901 - Louis Armstrong was born

August 7, 1904 - Ralph J Bunche, the first Black winner of Nobel Peace Prize, was born

August 12, 1907 - Gladys Bentley, an African American singer that was one of the most well-known and financially successful Black women in the United Stated in the 1920s - 1930s, was born.



August 13, 1911 - James B. Parsons, first African American to serve as a judge in a U.S. district court, was born.

August 22, 1917 - Blues singer and guitarist, John Lee Hooker, was born.

August 11, 1921 - Alex Haley, author of “Roots”, was born 

August 12, 1922 - Washington DC home of Frederick Douglas is declared a national shrine.

August 12, 1923 - Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell, founder of two African American modeling schools, was born.

August 2, 1924 - Writer James Baldwin was born

August 29, 1924 - Dinah Washington, singer, was born

August 15, 1925 - Oscar Peterson, one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, was born

August 25, 1927 - Althea Gibson, the first African-American to play in an international tennis tournament, was born

August 5, 1928 -William Alexander Scott II founded The Atlanta Daily World. It was the first successful African American daily newspaper in the United States.

August 20, 1931 - Don King, American boxing promoter, was born



August 18, 1932 - Leon Bridges, the founder of the second African American-owned firm in Seattle, was born.

August 18, 1934 - Rafer Johnson, was an American decathlete and film actor, was born.

August 3, 1936 - Jesse Owens wins four gold medals in the Berlin Olympics

August 21, 1936 - Wilt Chamberlain, the first NBA player to score more than 30,000 cumulative points over his career, was born

August 16, 1938 - Robert L. Johnson, Blues singer, passes away.

August 30, 1938 - The first African American magazine, Mirror of Freedom, begins publication in New York City.

August 20, 1939 - Wynston Brown became the first president of National Negro Bowling Association

August 20, 1942 - Composer, songwriter, musician and singer Isaac Hayes was born.


August 21, 1943 - Harriet M. West became the first Black woman major in the Women's Army Corps.

August 26, 1946 - Valerie Simpson, legendary icon, was born

August 7, 1948 - Alice Coachman, becomes the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal.


August 13, 1948 - American soprano Kathleen Battle was born

August 24, 1950 - Edith Sampson becomes the first African American appointed as a representative to the UN.

August 7, 1954 - the Senate confirmed Charles Henry Mahoney as the first Black to serve as a full delegate to the United Nations.

August 28, 1955 -  14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally murdered by a group of white men. His death became one of the major incidents that fueled the civil rights movement, as well as one of the most important stories in U.S. history.

August 29, 1958 - Michael Jackson was born


August 14, 1959 - Famous Basketball player, Earvin Magic Johnson, was born

August 4, 1961 - Barack Obama, the first Black American to hold the office of the 44th President of the United States, is born.

August 9, 1961 - James Benton Parsons becomes the first Black as the United States District Court Judge for Northern Illinois.

August 29, 1962 - Malvin Goode becomes the first African American television news commentator


August 9, 1963 - Whitney Houston was born

August 16, 1963 - George Olden becomes the first Black artist to design a U.S. postage stamp

August 18, 1963 - James Meredith was awarded a bachelor’s degree by the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), becoming the first black man to graduate from the school.

August 27, 1963 - W.E.B. Du Bois, protest leader, passes away

August 28, 1963 -  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech at the March On Washington. 

August 1, 1964Arthur Ashe became the first Black man to play for the US Davis Cup team.

August 6, 1965 - David Robinson, a retired professional basketball player was born.

August 14, 1966 - Halle Berry, Oscar winning Hollywood actress, was born.



August 7, 1967 - Ira Frederick Aldridge, the first African American actor to achieve success on the international stage, passes away.

August 10, 1970 - Shirley Chisholm becomes the first Black woman elected to Congress.

August 11, 1973 - DJ Kool Herc hosts a party in the Bronx, New York  that marks the birth of hip-hop music


August 23, 1978 - Kobe Bryant was born

August 30, 1983 - Lt. Col. Guiom S. Bluford Jr. becomes the first Black US astronaut to enter space.

August 17, 1984 - Roberto Clemente was the second baseball player to be featured on a stamp.

August 6, 1985 -  Juanita Jewel Shanks Craft, the first African American woman to vote in Dallas County in a public election, passes away

August 24, 1987 - Bayard Rustin, one of the most important yet least known Civil Rights advocate, passes away


August 18, 1989 -  Lil’ Romeo, American rapper, was born

August 5, 1990 - William “Bill” Pinkney is the first African American and the fourth person in the world to circumnavigate the globe alone by boat.

August 17, 1990 - Jazz vocalist, Pearl Bailey, passes away.

August 11, 1992 - Anthony Phills received US patent #5136787 for a ruler template for computer 

August 1, 1993 - Barbara Ross-Lee became the first Black woman to head a medical school in the United States when she was appointed dean of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

August 25, 1997 - Arthur Ashe Stadium opened as the largest tennis stadium at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

August 16, 1998 - Dorothy West, one of the most important writers of the Harlem Renaissance, passes away.

August 21, 2001 - Robert Tool, the first man having a self-contained artificial heart implanted speaks on National TV

August 9, 2003 - Gregory Hines, a renowned improvised tap choreographer, passes away

August 9, 2008 - Bernie Mac, an American comedian, passes away.

August 10, 2008 - Isaac Hayes, best known for revolutionizing and broadening the direction of soul music, passes away


August 28, 2008 -  Barack Obama accepted the democratic nomination for president, making history as the first African American major party presidential candidate. 

August 5, 2011 - Hazel Johnson-Brown, the first African American woman to become a general in the U.S. Army, passes away

August 1, 2012 - One of the oldest HBCUs in the United States, Saint Augustine’s College, transitioned in name and status to Saint Augustine’s University.

August 26, 2013 - Patrick Gaspard becomes the US Ambassador to South Africa

August 15, 2015 - Horace Julian Bond, prominent civil rights activist who became the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, passes away



Happy August!

Cover photo: This month in Black History: Important things that happened in August that you never learned/Photo Courtesy of Fair Use Images